PH, Nigeria bolster ties on trade, aquaculture, anti-drug trafficking

MANILA -- The Philippines and Nigeria have agreed to continue working together to enhance not only their economic and technical cooperation but also the collaboration in the fight against terrorism, illegal drugs and other areas.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the agreement to further strengthen bilateral ties was reached during the Third Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) between the Philippines and Nigeria that was held at the Conrad Hotel in Manila on August 15.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano welcomed the outcome of the latest JCM consultations, expressing confidence it would bring the relations between Manila and Abuja to a higher level.

We look forward to working with Nigeria, not only in economic and technical cooperation but also in other areas, such as education and culture, agriculture, aquaculture, trade, tourism, and youth development, among others, Cayetano said in a statement sent to media on Friday.

We also have signified our interest in cooperating with Nigeria in combatting transnational crime, particularly in the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking, he added.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Policy Enrique A. Manalo, head of the Philippine delegation, said both sides also discussed food security and agreed to establish bilateral linkages in aquaculture to address this important concern.

Manalo said the Nigerian delegation also highlighted the need to have more exchanges, particularly in terms of visiting business delegations, to strengthen the two countries' trade and investment relations.

He said both sides also exchanged views on domestic, regional, and international developments, including the Bangsamoro Organic Law, the West Philippine Sea, as well as Abuja's chairmanship of the Economic Community of West African States, counterterrorism and climate change.

Aside from Manalo, the other members of the Philippine panel were Ambassador to Nigeria Shirley Ho-Vicario and officials of the DFA, Department of Trade and Industry, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.

The Nigerian delegation was headed by Permanent Secretary Ambassador Olukunle Bamgbose of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador to the Philippines Adekunbi Abibat Sonaike-Ayodeji and representatives of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Federal Ministry of Justice, and Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.

The JCM is a platform for the two countries to review the state of bilateral relations and new areas for possible cooperation. The last JCM was held in Abuja in December 2012.

Since establishing diplomatic relations in 1962, the Philippines and Nigeria have entered into agreements on economic, technological, cultural, and educational cooperation.

Trade between the two countries has reached USD4.81 million, with Philippine exports totaling USD3.86 million and imports, USD945,000. About 3,200 Filipinos are living and working in Nigeria. (DFA PR)

Source: Philippine News Agency